Do you ever get a little down dwelling on the negative circumstances happening in your life?
Do you know any people that seem, despite difficult circumstances, to rise above those things and shine their light to bless others? You might even want to emulate how you see them living?
For me personally, I find these kind of people most inspiring and wrote about a few of them in a post entitled Inspirational Living a while back. This past week my faith walk was encouraged once more by interacting with a few visits to a dear friend, Greg Pedroza, who was recovering from hip replacement surgery.
These visits actually provided me with a two fold message to share with you this week so here goes….
A cyberspace friend of mine made mention of a song that I had never heard before referencing the title of a recent post I had shared. The song is very touching and through circumstances orchestrated by God I felt I wanted to share these thoughts with you even though waiting for Veteran’s Day might be more appropriate.
But, isn’t it important to give a shout out and thank you to veterans any day, not just once a year?
The song is entitled Some Gave All by Billy Ray Cyrus. You might want to grab a few tissues and take a few minutes to listen and reflect on this song before reading further.
A few days after listening to this song, I went to visit Greg who was in a VA hospital recovering from hip replacement surgery. Because of Greg’s physical limitations as a result of the surgery to remove the tumor at the base of his brain inside the spinal cord several decades ago, which has basically left him unable to walk on his own, his recovery is even more difficult and involved.
This was my first time visiting a VA hospital which I consider an honor and for me it kind of felt like a “holy” place.
As I went through the revolving doors, the first thing I noticed was this sign which I thought was touching and kind of related to another post that has been in my head and in the works for awhile now. (Hopefully you can read the sign well enough as the sun was reflecting through the window no matter what angle I tried.)
This beautiful stained glass window was another site that touched me as I waited to get my name badge in order to go visit my friend.
I do not have any family members that have been directly involved in the military that I know personally. As I was navigating through the hospital to get to my friend’s room I was overwhelmed with thinking that all these people in this hospital were people who have served in the military in some capacity. They were now battling some wars of their own most likely because of their time serving our country for us. There was one gentleman with no legs that I saw laying in bed. Many were in wheelchairs.
What many stories each individual could share about their time in the military fighting to keep our nation free. It made me think about the many sacrifices the veterans and their families must have endured while they served as well as in the years after especially if they were directly involved in battling in a war. What it must be like for those people seems overwhelming for my mind to comprehend.
This particular facility seems very impressive. The one day when I went to visit Greg, since it was warm and sunny out, we went to the “therapy terrace” which is a place where sometimes if they are able they can go there for physical therapy. It is very nice as it allows them to get some fresh air and see some sites of the city. The terrace also has picnic tables, vegetable garden containers and even a few games available to play for the patients and/or their families. Special meals are also served there sometimes and the veterans can be seen helping in whatever capacity they can contribute.
Greg mentioned that throughout the week sometimes special groups of people like the Ladies Auxillary, various VFW organizations and even some church groups will come and bring special meals to the veterans in the hospital to give them a little change in their regular dietary food. He mentioned a couple in their 80’s, which the husband had served in the Marines, comes every single day to play a guitar and sing to the residents. Wow…How special is that?
People are willing to rise above their personal circumstances to minister to others in their time of need.
It is nice to see that the veterans seemed to be well cared for and the people who serve their physical needs day in and day out deserve special recognition too.
Greg was scheduled to be in physical therapy for another hour the first day I went to visit him so I traced my steps back to the car to get my Bible and book I had brought in case I did have to wait. It was neat that on my way to find a restroom before heading to his room, I saw a sign for the chapel. I figured it was a great place to go, pray, read my Bible and wait for my friend to return. It was special to be praying for and thinking about the people in the facility, as well as for all the special caregivers caring for these veterans and a few tears came to my eyes.
When I made my way back to Greg’s room, he had actually returned early from his physical therapy because he was in too much pain. He had a visitor who was also a man in a wheelchair who came to visit him as he lives fairly close. This gentleman has been in a wheelchair for about 3 years but he has risen above his circumstances too. He has plans to do a full 26 mile wheelchair race one day so is faithfully training everyday doing 3 hr rides with a goal of riding 14 miles every day until the big race. That particular day he left saying he was going to ride seven miles!
What a way to rise above circumstances!
Greg is always such a pleasure to visit. Despite being in pain 24 hrs a day and not being able to walk, he is the most positive blessing to know. He is always asking about you and your family, sharing prayer concerns for others and making you feel loved.
Greg was sharing about some of the different people there, some that have been there for three months, some even longer. What impressed me was that despite the pain and suffering, and even having to be hoisted out of bed with a special apparatus, Greg could be seen visiting these other people bringing the light of Christ to them.
What a way to rise above the negative circumstances he is dealing with! What a wonderful example for us all to keep in mind.
Greg was really suffering that day as his body was spasming because of all the pain he was experiencing because of the recent surgery. Because it would be damaging to his hip and legs for his legs to come together at all, he has to have a foam contraption between his legs for 6-8 weeks to allow for proper healing. I could not help but shed some tears a few times that day and praying with him at the end seemed like a natural thing to do.
As I left, Greg said something to the affect “God has a reason for me being here. You have to just keep going.”
I am very happy to report that about two weeks after his hip replacement surgery, he was able to stand up and actually walk four feet which is amazing! The walking was to see what specific areas he needs to focus on in physical therapy to progress even further on before being moved to hopefully a local sub-acute care rehab facility before heading back home. We continue to pray that Greg will be in even better physical shape than before the surgery enabling him to even walk short distances most likely with a walker.
This week, may I encourage you to do two things…
1-Find a way to thank a Veteran and/or their family for their sacrifice.
–Maybe send a card
–Maybe verbally thank them
2-Rise above the negative circumstances you might be experiencing. Reach out to someone in need.
–Visit someone in a nursing home or hospital
–Pray for those you know who are suffering
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. –2 Corinthians 4:8 (NLT)
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. –James 1:2-4 (ESV)